Living the Perfect Lotus Lifestyle, 1 Racetrack at a Time

Life moves pretty fast, and so does the Lotus Evora 400.

I am a man of extremes. My behavioral pattern, at its simplest, goes like this: I commit to projects, people, cars and ideas, both mentally and physically, to my fullest. Then I find myself burnt out on whatever it is I was committed to, take a 5 minute break, and turn an exact 180. I even wrote a story about one of these occasions for these very pages, trading an Audi S4 for a Hummer H1, and the Hummer H1 for a Mini, in a matter of 3 months.

More recently, I created my own monster when I went all Henry Ford on the video production process, streamlining and automating to the point where I was able to review north of 600 cars in just over two years. I called this series of first-impression drives “One Takes,” because they were always filmed in only one take, and then I’d be on to the next. I aimed to fill every little niche, drive every car I could, and focus on cars that were reviewed new before YouTube, in order to corner that market, forever.

This is roughly the vehicular equivalent of living your entire life at a farmers market, where you can eat any and all the sample foods you like off the trays, for free, but that’s all you get—one bite of anything. I like a cocktail weenie and a quarter slice of Dinosaur Egg Pluot as much as anyone, perhaps more than anyone. But there comes a time to slow down, exit the Farmer’s Market, and sit down for a full meal or two.

Which brings me to what I’ve been doing recently: Mainly, I’ve been immersing myself in the art of Lotusing. Eighteen months ago, I accidentally broke embargo when a dealer employee let me film one of my One Take videos with a demonstrator Evora 400, six months before the North American press launch. I only had about 12 minutes in the 400 on one windy road, but in a sea of 600 videos, it absolutely stood out as something special, a car worthy of a very deep dive. I asked Lotus if I might do a few more things than people typically do with their cars, and they actually said yes. 

So, over the last three weeks, I’ve lived with the Lotus Evora 400. And I mean really lived with it. I commuted to the studio, I road tripped it, I ran canyons, I drove it to three race tracks, two car shows, road tripped it again, then went to one more race track, crashed it a little bit, then drove it a bunch more. It was incredible. I actually got to use the word “Lotus” as a verb. I got to spend three weeks, living my perfect Lotus lifestyle, and it was even more Lotus than I could have imagined.

The Silver Evora 400 came directly from a three-week stint on racetracks and road trips with my colleagues at my other job, and aside from a new set of Michelin Pilot Super Sports, had required neither fiddling, nor fumbling (technical terms for how you work on a Lotus) in between their past abuse and my forthcoming abuse. It wore its original brake pads, with 50% material left and a matching supply of DOT4 brake fluid. From what I understand, this particular 400 has had the shit kicked out of it, and enjoyed every minute of it. I was incredibly optimistic.

May 25th, Buttonwillow Raceway Park

Speed District

I left Venice Beach at 5:30 AM, as you do for a track day at Buttonwillow, 142 miles north up the abysmal 5 Freeway. After the track day, I would be continuing north to Silicon Valley for the Memorial Day weekend, so the Lotus was comfortably stuffed full of gear: a Pelican 1610 case and large Photography backpack filled the “back seat” and a helmet bag, weekend duffel, detail kit, Camelbak, well-worn Merrell MOAB hiking boots, a cooler, and two king-sized pillows crammed into the aft trunk. It’s a pet peeve of mine to have gear on the passenger seat, so that remained empty, but the ability to carry two people and this amount of gear is certainly GT-worthy. The 400 will even fit a set of golf clubs in the trunk, with the woods removed.

It’s just as well you have to leave at 5:30 to get to Buttonwillow for an 8AM driver’s meeting—it’s the only time that using our freeway system is remotely pleasant, and I waste no time in maximizing the opportunity; Once on the highway I never have to leave sixth gear. I arrive at 7:20 AM, having averaged over 25 mpg, remove the Pelican case from behind my manually adjusted SPARCO bucket, recline, and take a 20-minute nap.

Buttonwillow, like all Southern California tracks, is not pretty. But the 3-mile, 11-corner circuit offers slow and fast corners, and a few places that can easily unsettle a chassis. There’s tons of runoff in case things go wonky, and the tarmac is in good shape, relatively speaking. Most importantly, it’s a perfect 70 degrees and sunny—the first time I’ve been at a track in years where it wasn’t either freezing cold, raining, or in crushingly oppressive heat. (Insider tip: low budget shows film at tracks when they are cheapest, which is when the weather is worst). I’m running a Speed District track day and traffic is very light; I don’t think there were more than 10 cars in my advanced run group; about half were Porsche’s, there were a couple Corvettes, a prepped Mustang and a BMW or two. Consistent with the theme everywhere I went for the next three weeks, I was the only Lotus, and people were intrigued. A bunch of butts got in the seat and made themselves at home, all surprised with the comfort and level of finish. They admire the huge pile of gear I’ve removed from the car and have stacked neatly aft.

Though I spend a lot of time on racetracks, often the purpose of me being there is to drive and talk; to describe the car. It is not, typically, to set a lap time. And even in cases where lap times are the goal, it’s rarely me who's in charge of making sure the car is optimized for this purpose. So I did the same thing I always do: sip coffee and bullshit with folks, all of whom appeared to be taking the track day way more seriously than I did. When they called “Red” over the PA system, I went out on track, having not touched a thing on the car.

Before the first lap was even over, I was smitten with the 400 all over again. The power delivery is perfectly linear and builds to a glorious wail at redline. The chassis and steering are ridiculously communicative, and over “Cotton Corners” and “Phil Hill,” the two over-crest transitions designed to upset a chassis, the Lotus shines particularly bright, doing a little four-wheeled slide right to the exit curbing as I roll onto the throttle at the exits. The four-piston AP Racing brakes don’t get soft, period. You can stand on them over and over, and they are always ready. Trail braking gets the car rotated into every corner, and balancing understeer and oversteer with throttle is very easy since the engine never overpowers the chassis, especially with traction control in ‘Race’ mode, which allows for a bit of yaw without killing the fun. The shifter is notchy and direct, and fun to row through gears, with very short throws.

I was having a blast. Lap after lap, the smiles were brilliant. I even gave a few rides to startled Porsche owners. The lap timer, unfortunately, didn’t exactly reflect my joy. I ran a best lap of 2:03.1, which is fine, but not anything game changing. Typically, “fast” mid-engine sports cars can crack 2-minutes there without much trouble. 

After my last session, I scrolled through the menus in the basic, but attractive and functional cluster and found the tire pressures on my Super Sports had ballooned to almost 45 PSI. No wonder I wasn’t finding any grip in the high-speed bends; I was probably down 30% usable surface area. Lesson learned; adjust tire pressures early, and check them often, if you care about lap times.

I packed all my gear back into the car and continued north, three and a half hours to Silicon Valley, arriving in time for an evening with Paul Simon in Oakland, who performed to a sold-out arena. The Evora’s exhaust, in “Race” mode as became ritual every time I started it, echoed through the parking structure. It didn’t set off any alarms, you need the bass note of a V8 for that, but it did turn more than a couple heads. I was cripplingly stiff, a feeling I inadvertently blamed the Lotus for, when the previous day’s combination of squat presses and leg presses was really to blame. My trainer picked a bad day to beat me up. Nevertheless, pain is pain and the Lotus sat parked for most of the weekend; I relegated myself to passenger seat in Hanna’s Volvo, plus lots of hot tubs and stretching.

May 28th, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

NCRC

Everything in Monterey is expensive and annoying. Typically, the sheer beauty of the place that makes the headaches worthwhile, but whether it’s a round of golf at Pebble Beach or a track day at Laguna Seca, you’ve gotta be pretty motivated. Laguna Seca has America’s most restrictive sound rules: on most days, the meter outside turn 5 had better not read over 90 decibels as your car goes by, or you get black flagged and are parked for the rest of the session. There are a few “loud” days per year, mostly reserved for professional racing and the Monterey Historics, but most of the time, it’s under 90 or bust. So your options are:

  1. Drive a very quiet car (which typically also means slow, but not always—turbo cars are a benefit here)
  2. Build a trumpet-like contraption that attaches to your exhaust, directing the sound towards the track infield and away from the sound meter. Believe it or not, this is a common solution for locals and professional race teams.
  3. Take turn 5, which is a fast sweeper to start the long, uphill climb, a gear too high, or off throttle.

If you plan to go to Laguna Seca, you probably need to consider this beforehand. While the Evora 400 does have a “quiet mode,” which, honest as I can be, makes the car whisper quiet around town, if you go full throttle at high RPM, it defaults back to loud mode because, simply, the exhaust needs to get out. That eliminates option 1. Since this was not my Evora 400, option 2 goes in the trash as well, leaving option 3.

While the Evora 400 makes, I’m absolutely certain, the advertised 400 horsepower, the 302 lb/ft of torque arrive up high, so taking turn 5 at Laguna in fourth gear, rather than third, means I got run up on by a Spec Miata up the hill. By the time I got past the kinked turn 6, I got away, but still, it was far closer for a second than I was comfortable with, considering I was driving a $100,000 sports car.

The corkscrew is far easier in real life than video games; your real-life depth perception, or at least my real life depth perception makes a massive difference. It’s also far more fun. The Evora 400 lives for the corkscrew; after two track days, I can confidently say the Lotus’s happy place is in the transitions; the sections of track where it’s allowed to rapidly dance back and forth, like the Corkscrew, or Buttonwillow’s Cotton Corners, or Sonoma’s downhill esses. The Corkscrew is just an exaggeration of it all, with its massive drop off the hill.

Turn 5 aside, Laguna is an amazing place to drive a sports car. It couldn’t be more opposite from Buttonwillow, which is flat, except where a few dump trucks have made some small mounds. Laguna is all hill. And hills, to me, are what make tracks interesting.

I love the way the Evora’s double-wishbone suspension loads and unloads, and how easy the car is to talk to. Again, I give a few people rides who are shocked at the car’s performance; one poor soul on a birthday thrill ride tapped out before the end of the second lap. By dropping the cold tire pressure to 28 Front, 30 Rear over the course of two sessions, I have managed to shave 12 seconds off my lap time and turn a respectable 1:47.1, all while behaving myself and staying in fourth gear through turn 5.

You don’t get kicked out until you break sound three times, and I blew it once on my warm up lap of the first session. I behaved, so as to show respect to the kind folks at NCRC who allowed me to attend their track day, but on the last lap, I figured I was leaving anyway, and I wanted to see what the car would actually do. Taking turn 5 in third gear instead of fourth, I was able to run a 1:43.4, my personal best at Laguna Seca. But how frustrating to do a track day, and in order to be compliance, you have to run four seconds off the car’s potential pace. Either come prepared, or treat it as a novelty, like you would at a Nürburgring tourist day. 

Sorry I broke the rule at the end there, NCRC folks. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

May 29th, Sonoma Raceway

Hooked on Driving

There is nothing about the Evora 400 that’s intimidating. The car has had a lot of the tricky stuff engineered out of it; even with 400 horsepower, it has available chassis on tap. And to me, while Buttonwillow was a familiar primer and Laguna Seca a challenging, but not tricky place, Sonoma is tough. So it was good that I didn’t have to worry much about the car. I transited north, again, at 5:30 AM, and sipped coffee from my “American” sized Yeti cup pressure-crushed into the undersized cup holder. (Normally, the cup holder works well enough. Once it did not, and the aforementioned Yeti went flying as I took a corner at speed. I tried to get the coffee smell out of the carpet, and did an OK job. I realize how “American” it is of me to complain about a cup holder in a sports car, but come on, every single morning drive I take in my sports car, I have a coffee with me. Every single one. Especially a track day.)

Arriving at Sonoma, I checked in with the kind folks at Hooked On Driving, who organized the track day, removed my Pelican case and helmet from the back seat, dropped the tire pressures to 28 Front, 30 rear, and sat down on a bench, having completed the entirety of my pre-track setup. Every day I take the Lotus to do an activity, I am reminded that it asks basically nothing of me in return. Had I not been concerned with lap times or had a job making videos, two of the three pre-track procedures could be eliminated. “Sit on a bench” would be all that’s left.

Sonoma is an undulating circuit with a variety of curbing heights, tarmac changes, and off-camber transitions; carrying a lot of momentum through these transitions, dancing a fine line over the crests when the car gets very light. As I noted at Buttonwillow, the Evora 400 live for direction changes. Nothing makes that car happier than to be loaded up on a steep uphill left hander, only to bend round to the right over a blind crest and use that differential and a tiny bit of countersteer to power out. I can picture mid-engined cars, especially those with twin-turbochargers, spinning into the inside wall when that massive torque surge comes on at the exact wrong time. 

The dead-straight powerband of the Evora 400 causes no such issues.

Sonoma has two slow corners, and ten very fast ones. In the fast, loaded-up downhill Esses, the Evora is confident and unfazed by curb slamming. We are driving without the chicane on the back straight, so I’m entering turns 9 and 10 at around 90 miles per hour, and tracking out to within a foot of the Armco barrier. It’s least happy in the two hairpins, where you have to carry quite a lot of entry speed, load up the AP Racing brakes hard, and then get back on the power late to avoid low-speed understeer, but “least happy,” in hairpins is still pretty good, because you can balance understeer and nose tuck, telepathically, with the throttle pedal.

In the afternoon sessions, temperatures rose to over 90 degrees ambient, and my wireless lavalier mic died before I had to make the video, so I put the windows up and ran a whole session with the air conditioning on full crank for audio reasons, suffering a penalty of about 1 second per lap, but the car couldn’t care less. Temperatures are so not a problem in the Evora 400 that there isn’t even a temperature gauge—just a light that turns blue when the engine is cold, and (in theory) red if it’s too hot (I have yet to see a red light). The 3.5-Liter Supercharged engine brilliantly rips along without a care in the world, no matter how hard you stomp on it. Though if I were to dock it a few points off of perfect, I will say the blipping action on downshift is inconsistent if you’re a quick-stabber. If you use a slow, more deliberate blip, you get better results. Quick stabs at the throttle will make the engine cough a bit and not rev up as much as you want; I’ve experienced similar issues with aftermarket supercharger kits.

Hooked on Driving was an extremely professional organization and though I saw a lot of very good driving on the track, it was a fairly busy day for the holiday weekend, so I couldn’t get a clean lap time, but I ran a 1:57.2, which is my best time ever at Sonoma. It's a number I'm particularly proud of, considering I'd never driven the “full course, no chicane” configuration before, and hadn’t so much as glimpsed Sonoma in over three years. If I didn’t have a car that was so easy to deal with, a car that needed nothing, I may have worried more about the car than about learning the race track. (Though to be fair, the 400 is also the fastest car I’ve driven there.)

Let’s talk about tires for a minute: the Evora 400 comes from the factory with a standard set of Michelin Pilot Super Sports. They are off-the-rack, and Michelin still makes only the PSS, not the PS4S, in the 400’s size as of this writing. My track-addicted colleagues at my other job, who had this car before me, had sent several texts to the effect of “Make sure Lotus gets you a Cup2 tire; these [PSS] tires suck.”

The texts prompted me to get into a chat about tires with a couple of Lotus chassis engineers on the phone from Hethel, and I raised my secondhand concerns with them. The long and short of it is that the Evora 400 was developed to be a daily driven car (even in snow, with the right snow tires), which makes the Pilot Super Sport the obvious tire choice. The Evora 410 Sport and forthcoming GT 430 will be more track-focused, and have an available Cup2 tire. The most interesting part of our conversation centered around how, if you run a very sticky tire on an Evora 400, you’re eventually going to start breaking chassis and drivetrain components that were not designed to hold up to those levels of grip. The 410 and 430 have upgraded chassis componentry that’s optimized for a stickier track-day tire.

We came to a solution, which was that I would drive Buttonwillow, Laguna Seca, and Sonoma Raceways on the standard PSS tires, and I would then stop off at Sharkwerks, one of my favorite Porsche shops (that also happens to be full of Lotus experts) an hour south of Sonoma, to have a set of sticky Cup2 tires fitted for the second half of my highway transit, and for the last track day at the Streets of Willow Springs.

While the car was in the air for the tire swap, I took a minute to admire not only the fully flat-floored design of the car, helping keep it stable at speed without needing a big wing, and also the simple, clean design of the wheel wells and suspension components. Sharkwerks’ James pointed to how the aluminum structure is bonded together, why that structure is so strong, and then how various geometries in the suspension and steering worked so well together to give you great handling and a good ride. The math was beyond me, but the car does indeed handle very well and ride with a supple grace over even fairly shit tarmac. Rigid chassis, in my experience, do not require stiff suspensions to handle well, and I saw this in practice with the 400.

Matt Farah

Though the pedal didn’t tell me so, out of sheer curiosity, I asked James to bleed the brakes and check the brake pads, as neither had been changed in some time, since before Road & Track had the car. The pads still had over 50% life remaining; especially the rears, and the brake bleed yielded a bubble so small you couldn’t fill it with a goldfish fart. And those Pilot Super Sport tires? I replaced them with Cups because I wanted to; not because I had to. I could have driven another 5,000 miles or done another three track days on those Super Sports; this car simply does not go through consumables. 

Though I was certain I was leaving a lot of time on the table by running the Super Sports, truth be told, I was having fun on them even if the lap times didn’t reflect how fast the car felt from behind the wheel. The problem with race tracks (and race track people in general) is that it becomes hard to separate the reward of a fast lap time from the simple pleasure of exploring a car's limits.

I thought I would like the Cup2’s, after all, I have them on my Fox Body Mustang, but it only took a few short miles for me to change my tune on that. They roar down the road compared to the Super Sports, and slight pressure changes due to tire temp, ambient temp, and vehicle speed seem to drastically affect the car’s front-end alignment.  At a track day, at least if you’re taking it more seriously than I typically do, you’re checking those pressures and adjusting every session. On the road, who has the time? You get it close and then just want to drive without the thing darting all over. I did have one more track day, but I had almost 1,000 more road miles to drive first: San Francisco to LA, then to San Diego, then back to LA, then to Willow Springs. Would the Cup2’s even be good anymore by the time I got to the track?

June 2, HRE Open House in Vista, CA

The HRE Wheels Open House is a charity car show that I emcee every year. It is one of my favorite events, full of great people and between 500 and 1,000 cars. It’s huge and the entire SoCal car culture is represented.

I had the only Lotus. In a sea of 911’s, Lambo’s, Macca’s, and M4’s, my little silver loaner was the only Lotus at the entire place. And at my first three track days, I only saw two other Lotus’s, both heavily modified Exige race cars—no Evoras. If you want to stand out, get an Evora, paint it an insane color, and pick your car show or track day. You won’t need door numbers; you will be the only one.  

June 3rd, Streets of Willow Springs

Courtesy, Matt Farah

I didn’t want to go to Willow Springs when I woke up at 5:30 AM. I was tired from the previous day’s three hundred miles of transit driving and 10 hours in the San Diego sun. By now, I had completed roughly a full lap of California. Even in the most comfortable car, my itinerary was nuts, but spending all that time in the sun increases the wear exponentially. Plus, as you can imagine, covering 1,800 miles and three track days in the previous week meant food was frequently limited to “whatever is available right this second,” and my stomach was absolutely fucked; a particularly inopportune time for dyspepsia, since “The Fastest Road In the West” isn’t known for its wondrous bathroom conditions. 

The car was fine; I was falling apart.

The Team Topack Racing track day was, unlike the previous three track days, crowded, with mainly Hondas, Subarus and 86’s lining up the grid instead of the Porsche’s and BMW’s I had grown accustomed to sharing track time with. Here, at this track day, the Lotus was a true exotic.

Though I hadn’t driven the Streets of Willow in over 2 years, I ran the fastest lap of my career, a 1:25.4, on my first hot lap. (My previous best was a 1:26.1 in a Cayman GT4 Clubsport—on slicks.)

Streets has a lot of medium speed, off-camber corners, and if you’re pushing, there are a lot of opportunities to induce oversteer or understeer and make the car move around at will. The tarmac is particularly terrible, and always dusty, so it feels slicker than other tracks. But though I was driving at what I considered to be the best version of myself, the next lap was a second slower, the next lap a second slower than that. By 10 AM, it was 107 degrees and the track surface temperature must have been 150. Both track and tires got seriously greasy; not dangerous, but clearly not fast. It became apparent that in these conditions, the later in the day, the hotter the track, the hotter the tires—my best number was behind me.

Then I had a bit of a crash. 

Allow me to analyze the situation in as objective a way as I can recall:

I was on the front straight, and three cars merged onto the track in front of me, driving together in a line. They were on their out lap, well off the pace. We were in an open passing session, so point-bys are not required, though many people were still using them. As we entered turn three, a sweeping left hander, the two rear cars both pointed me by, on the outside of the turn. I went around. This would set me up, if the front car would allow, for an easy inside pass on turn 4, so I could continue on with my lap, and they with their warmup.

I did not get a point-by. The car, a Honda S2000, left the door wide open going into turn 4—so that, I believed, I could scoot on through. Then, as I reached the apex, the S2000 turned down and closed the door. I am all but certain the driver never saw me at all.

For the first time in 12 years of driving on race tracks, I made contact with another car on track. I’ve even got about 50 hours of endurance racing seat time, not enough to brag about but, as I say, not nothing, and I have never even traded paint when it’s all-but-acceptable in full-on race conditions.

Now, as far as crashes go, this was minor. My driver’s side front wheel and tire came into brief contact with the S2000’s passenger side rear wheel and fender. Honestly, if this was in a race, I don’t think either of us would have stopped racing. It was minimal; that it was in street cars and on an open track day makes it out of the ordinary. I slowly continued around the track to the paddock, learned that the driver of the S2000 was not its owner, and consulted them both, as well as Tommy of Team Topack racing, in a download briefing about the incident.

For my part, I should not have gone for that pass. It wasn’t entirely clear that he was leaving the door open, and while open passing on straights and open bends is one thing, I should not have assumed he saw me. That was my mistake. The other driver’s mistake, though less egregious than mine, was not being more aware of faster moving traffic in his mirrors while on a warm up lap.

Since the real loser in the situation is the owner of the S2000, who watched horrified from the sidelines, and because I have a pretty charmed life that I make an effort to lead ethically, I paid for the damage on both cars at my own expense: $1600 to fix the S2000’s bodywork, $753 + tax to replace a Volk wheel, and $200 to have the Lotus’s stock wheel refinished (the damage was only cosmetic). It was an expensive lesson, but an important reminder that when driving in open passing sessions never assume the car you're overtaking sees you.

It is at this point that I have to give a huge shoutout to the fine gentlemen from Paradise Chevrolet, whom I was pitted with. These dudes checked over the Lotus, and gave it an eyeball alignment with no tools at all in the paddock of a race track, and I went back out and finished the day. I appreciated the Lotus’s toughness, but not the fact that the Cup2’s got slicker and slicker as the day went on. Once it was clear I wasn’t going to get anywhere near my best time, and feeling down on myself about not only the crash, but also the fact that the 110-degree heat killed my camera gear and I basically had no video, dripping sweat and annoyed, I packed it in and went home.

Conclusion:

In eight days, I drove 2,197 miles, raced at four tracks, and I learned, for once to my full satisfaction, everything there is to know about this car. I lived this car. I used the word Lotus as a verb and was rewarded handsomely by one of the most unique, under-appreciated sports cars on the market. At every one of these track days, I saw guys with wrenches, laying out mats, swapping tires, and doing things with their car besides driving them. Not my Lotus; I had one tool – an air gauge, and even once I broke it out, I got faster, but no happier. The Evora 400 eliminated any and all desire I had for a project car; it’s so well rounded it may as well be a sphere. It’s simple, without being crappy; the materials are excellent, the air conditioning may only have three knobs but it blows icy cold; the radio is an Alpine but it worked flawlessly, and in my opinion, this is much preferred to an underfunded company attempting to do it on their own (right, Alfa?)

In my full lap of California car culture, I was driving the only Lotus Evora I saw. People were interested in it; everyone wanted to sit in it and was surprised at the materials, the shifter feel, and the interior volume, which is particularly impressive considering the footprint is smaller than a Cayman or original NSX. While the 911 is, was, and probably always will be the gold standard for the segment, there is something to be said for being a bit against the grain, especially when there are so few downsides.

There were a few issues: The trunk release mechanism came out of adjustment and so opening the trunk became a 2-man job. The windshield wiper, strangely enough for a car from England, wasn’t particularly effective at cleaning the window, and the driver’s side rearview mirror couldn’t be adjusted outwards enough, so half the mirror was filled with my own air intake. The last-generation cruise control mechanism gets draggy and unrefined when faced with going down hills, and you do get a bit of cowl shake at over 100 mph.

When you put them all in a list like that, it does look kinda bad, but none of these issues kept me from enjoying, nor would they keep me from buying one of these things. (OK, maybe the cup holder would keep me from buying it). This car is a blast to drive in every condition, from daily errands, to road trips, to racetracks. Its road mannerisms are impeccable; with a balance between ride and handling you can only get from putting the engine in the middle and double-wishbone geometries all around. There aren’t even any shock adjustments! Sit down; turn key; push button; drive. This is all the Evora 400 asks of you. And for $100,000, you couldn’t possibly ask for more.

But it’s a slippery slope from “man, this is a great, fun sports car,” to chasing tenths of a second, so my biggest takeaway from the whole week was that if you really like driving at track days, or driving recreationally, as opposed to spending your Saturdays underneath a project car, simplicity gets nowhere near the respect it deserves. The Evora 400 has everything it needs, nothing it doesn’t, and you don’t have to martyr yourself, driving a tin can to ‘add lightness.’ It’s a real car, in every sense of the word.

All you have to do, dear owner, is not ruin it by thinking you can make it better.

Lotus Evora 400 Track Adventure
The Smoking Tire